Riverbank trees and shrubs

Stepping into Nature - Minden Riverwalk

Riverbank trees and shrubs

Minden, Ontario K0M 2A1, Canada

Created By: Haliburton County Master Gardeners


The rainbow bench at this tour stop is in honour of Sinclair Russell who is remembered for his many contributions to Minden including co-founding Minden Pride. He is described as being a flamboyant and creative man. We can see many of these characteristics in the flora around this bench. If you are sitting here in late fall, the Tamarack (Larix laricina) tree will be a bright blazing yellow.

Most conifer trees keep their needles all year round but Tamaracks are deciduous conifers, meaning they lose their needles in late fall and get new ones in spring. They are almost the last deciduous tree to change colour in the fall, turning a brilliant yellow.

Tamaracks grow in a variety of soil types and can tolerate varying moisture levels but prefer moist soil. The trees have a high resin content that prevents rot and decay. They do not like shade, needing full sun and can reach about 20 m at maturity.

The Tamarack provides shelter and shade for birds and small animals. The small yellow brown cones have seeds that are eaten by many small animals and birds including chipmunks, grouse and snowshoe hare.

The name Tamarack comes from an Algonquin word, akemantak, meaning "wood used for snowshoes."

Another fun fact about the Tamarack is that it can be found in every province and territory in Canada

Pussy Willow (Salix discolor) and Narrow Leaved Willow (Salix exigua) can also be found along the river bank.

The soft grey catkins of the Pussy Willow, popular for flower arranging, herald early spring. The thin tapered leaves are loved by birds for building nests and can also be used for making tea as they contain Vitamin C.

Willows are very valuable for shoreline restoration because they have the unique ability to root from a cutting very easily. The commercial rooting hormone people buy for rooting plant cuttings was developed from the study of willows and can include the same hormone. Willows also contain salicylic acid which is found in Aspirin providing animals some pain relief when coming out of hibernation.

Willows are also the larval hosts for many species of beetles and moths.

Other plants at this tour stop include:

Common rush Juncus effusus

White Meadowsweet Spiraea alba

For more information, you can download the document Native Plants for Your Property Including Shorelines from the Haliburton County Master Gardeners website.

Ever heard of a singing insect? Look carefully in the grasses at this site and you might spot the Slender Meadow Katydid (Conocephalus fasciatus). Native to the area he looks a bit like a small grasshopper with wispy antennae and long slender legs that allow him to move quickly from plant to plant. His green colour acts as camouflage among the green grasses which also happen to be the favoured food of this species. What better way to court a female mate than to break out into a soft song of clicks and buzzes.

U-Links Species Profile:

Slender Meadow Katydid, Conocephalus fasciatus

True to its name, the Ontario native Slender Meadow Katydid is a thin, long grasshopper-like insect that spans around 18 - 26mm in length. Conocephalus fasciatus has long wispy antennae that can stretch well beyond the length of their body as well as the iconic long slender legs that are commonly seen on Orthoptera species that allow them to move quickly from plant to plant. Another unique feature for the Slender Meadow katydid is the wingspan, which reaches beyond the tip of the abdomen.

Although not depicted on the sign, the Slender Meadow Katydid is a vibrant green, matching the foliage and brush that it will commonly be found hiding in. The Slender meadow katydid is one of the different species of Orthoptera that can be found on the Minden Riverwalk. This species is known for typically being a herbivorous insect, however it has displayed predatory behaviour as it will sometimes hunt for moth larvae (Bland et al., 2003).

A common behaviour amongst Orthoptera is to have songs to attract mates, and C. fasciatus is no exception to this ritual. During mating season, they will congregate around marshes and grassy areas, where the males will perform their calls, trying to attract a mate (Bland et al., 2003). The song consists of a long buzz from the males, followed by a series of short chirps.

Researcher: Caleb Brown, Trent University

This point of interest is part of the tour: Stepping into Nature - Minden Riverwalk


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